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Jacksonville Historical Society supports adaptive reuse of JEA headquarters

The Jacksonville Historical Society strongly supports preservation and adaptive reuse of the JEA headquarters building at 21 W. Church Street.

The imposing, 19-story mid-century modern structure recently became one of Jacksonville’s “Most Endangered Buildings,” having been added to the Society’s annual list by unanimous vote of the JHS’s Historic Sites Committee.

Headquarters, as of 2020, for the Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) for the City of Jacksonville. (Photo by Mark Krancer, KramKran Photo, for the Jacksonville Historical Society)

At 57 years old, the building is fully eligible for historic status. Moreover, it meets every criteria for landmark status under the guidelines of the City of Jacksonville.

“It is emblematic of Jacksonville’s mid-twentieth century surge in modernist design and construction, and it lends itself to the telling of many stories about this city’s people and their history,” said Alan Bliss, Chief Executive Officer of the JHS. “While the costs to renovate and adapt the building seem imposing now, that has been true of every significant project of historic renovation.”

“The facts prove that historic preservation is economic development,” he said. “As we have seen repeatedly, the economic returns on historic preservation are manifest right from the commencement of restoration, and they endure for decades after completion. Preserving the current JEA headquarters building represents a critical investment in the future of Jacksonville’s unique, authentic downtown.”

The Jacksonville Historical Society welcomes the opportunity to join the discussion about sustaining this distinctive downtown landmark.

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